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Australian man charged in plot to export sensitive military technology to Iran
WASHINGTON (AP) ' An Australian man and his company were charged Wednesday in a scheme to export to Iran components for drones, torpedoes, missiles and other military technology.
A five-count indictment returned in Washington accuses David Levick of knowingly skirting a federal trade embargo with Iran and plotting to export the technology without the required authorization.
Prosecutors say Levick and his company, ICM Components, Inc., ordered aircraft parts and other goods from U.S. companies on behalf of an unnamed representative of an Iranian trade company. Levick concealed the fact that the goods were intended for shipment to Iran, sometimes placing orders through a Florida-based broker, and duped manufacturers, shippers and distributors about their intended end-use, the indictment alleges.
Levick, identified by prosecutors as the general manager of ICM Components, Inc., remains at large and is believed to be living in Australia. The company is also named in the indictment. It was not immediately clear if either Levick or the company had a lawyer.
The company representative who worked with Levick, identified in court papers only as "Iranian A," would not have been able to directly purchase the goods from the United States on his own, prosecutors say.
The alleged export scheme spanned about two years starting around March 2007.
The indictment charges Levick with four separate exports or attempted exports, including two separate shipments of mounted light assemblies for use on helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; a shipment of precision pressure inducers that can measure altitude and record barometric pressure; and a shipment of emergency flotation kits, which can help a helicopter landing in the water or on soft desert terrain.
The indictment charges Levick and the company with conspiracy and with four counts of illegally exporting goods to an embargoed nation.
Prosecutors claim Levick and Iranian A were in steady contact, especially when a shipment was delayed. In March 2008, according to the indictment, Iranian A told Levick that he might have to pay Levick from Malaysia because his bank in Iran was no longer working with a bank in Australia. Levick told the man to go ahead and send the payment through Malaysia.
"I have just been informed that the U.S. have (sic) put more restriction(s) on the mo(ve)ment of funds from Iran," the indictment quotes Levick as saying. He adds: "So you will have to do it from Malaysia next month. Will keep you posted(.) Bloody yanks."
Six months later, prosecutors say, Levick warned Iranian A that the Australian government and U.S. customs officials knew what parts had been supplied.
"I was questioned over the weekend about the business we have done and everything has been taken," Levick wrote, adding that computers, bank accounts and paperwork were being monitored, according to the indictment.